3 Days 39 Miles and a Packer Win Over The Bears

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39 Miles hiked in 3 Days

Map of Day 1… 15.5 mile hike here
Map of Day 2… 13.3 mile hike here
Map of Day 3… 10.0 mile hike here

Hello everyone

Day 1   9/10/2018

Hiking again! After a summer of mostly work, and no hiking since mid-June It is Monday morning and I am headed north for 3 days. Would have preferred to leave Sunday and get settled so Monday wasn’t so tight on time but it was the Packers first game of the season, and was glad I stayed home to watch Green Bay beat Chicago 24 – 23 in dramatic fashion. Go Pack.

Mondays hike would be from Birchwood, WI to Stout Rd a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. Got to Stout Rd at 10:45 need to unload the motorcycle and head to Birchwood to hike south back to my truck. I need to get moving. I am planning on about a 6 hour hike starting at 11:30 that gets me done at 5:30 sunset is 7:30 don’t want to push the daylight in such a remote area. Started south with a short road section then into the woods for the Hemlock Creek section and the northern half of the Northern Blue Hills Segment. Pretty uneventful similar woods and topography of segments I have already done. Saw plenty of deer, bear tracks, cranes, occasional beaver dam, another pair of the many Trumpeter Swans  I have seen this year and lots and lots of frogs, of all different sizes and colors. I am guessing it was due to the heavy rains and warm temperatures they had over the past few weeks.

Trailhead Sign

The woods were beginning to show the signs of early fall. Some limited color in the trees, a few leaves already down, ground cover starting to slump and weaken its grip on the forest floor. Occasional acorns falling, paling in comparison to the bombardment I experienced later in the fall cycle last year.

Total miles for the day 15.5 and 5 Hours 55 Min right on my estimate back to my truck at 5:30 with 2 hours of light to spare. Feel pretty good overall for not hiking in almost 2 months.

Day 2   9/11/2018 Patriots Day

I’m sore. Nearly 2 months of no trail hiking and then a 15.5 mile day mostly in the woods whopped my 54 year old butt. The plan for today is to start (slowly) where I left off last evening heading south finishing the southern half of the Northern Hills segment then a mile and a half road walk connecting to the Southern Blue Hills Segment ending up a few miles west of Weyerhaeuser, WI. Should be about a 13 mile day. Another beautiful day sunny with a high temperature forecast of 80 can’t complain for early September.

Finished the Northern Blue Hills segment overall a pretty well maintained trail for some of the more remote areas of the Ice Age Trail. My new hiking shoes (I normally wear boots) seem to be working well. I seem to be a magnet for every rock and stick on the trail to get in my shoes. So I am trying out some new gaiters, designed to keep rock and debris out of your shoes. I am using Dirty Girl Gaiters known for their crazy patterns. The ones I am wearing in  this picture are definitely on the tame side of their patterns.
I ask a hunter and he estimated the bear that made that track was 300 – 400 lbs.

Dirty girl Gaiters and a Bear Track

The Southern Blue Hills Segment started on a logging road then into the woods heading south. I’m starting to get tired and I have about 6 more miles to go. Now the trail is getting harder and I’m getting more tired with 5 more miles to go. The trail became more overgrown, rocky, muddy, Rooty and hilly and I’m tired. 3 more miles to go and the trail improves and I’m still tired. No doubt I will make it just tired from being out of shape from not hiking, a long day yesterday, and a hard trail today. I stop to take a break and eat one of my homemade energy bars – it doesn’t work… I’m still tired. A couple of miles left and I’m ready to be done. I’m Done! 13.3 hard miles. I’m still tired.

Probably as tired as I have ever been after a hike. I think I need to work less and hike more!

Natures Power

Day 3   9/12/2018

Up early and ready to roll. Today’s section is a road walk 21.3 miles to the next trail section the Chippewa Moraine Segment west of Cornell, WI. Hope to do about half that distance. Overall don’t feel to bad considering how tired I was yesterday, calves seem awfully tight, should loosen up on today’s easy road section. Parked at the Potato Creek State Wildlife Area and rode motorcycle to where I left off yesterday.

Southern Blue Hills Trailhead

Started right at sunrise walking directly toward it not a bad show. The clouds burned off quickly as I walked through Weyerhaeuser and turned south into a nice breeze for the rest of my walk. Pretty typical road section, nice countryside, light traffic and a easy day! I ran across this sign on a telephone pole south of Weyerhaeuser . Maybe that is one of the reasons I like to hike?

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~ Gandhi.

Ended the day right at 10 miles.

What’s Next

I have 148 miles continuous completed from the western terminus at St Croix Falls to where I stopped on day 3 at the Potato Creek State Wildlife Area. I have a week of vacation coming up. I plan to skip ahead to the 45 miles of trail that goes directly through the Chequamegon National Forest near Medford, WI. I am  planning to use the prime fall weather on as much trail miles as I can and do the road sections at a less prime time.

That’s it for now. Hope to have more in a few weeks. Andy

3 Days 34 Miles Warriors and a *Milestone

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33.3 Miles hiked in 3 Days

*500 Mile Milestone

Map of Day 1….11 mile hike here
Map of Day 2 11.2 mile hike here
Map of Day 3 11.1 mile hike here

Hello everyone

Day 1   6/3/2018

Left home at 6 AM 4 hour drive to the trailhead and a 11 mile hike planned of a 2.5 connecting route and the 8.5 mile Grassy Lake Segment. Started at 11:20 with cool temps and a drizzle rumor has it this segment can be quite wet, and with 5 inches of rain the previous week I was wondering if I would keep my feet dry. Well I didn’t get completely soaked but wet none the less. Overall not the most enjoyable segment but not worst. Saw 5 pairs of Trumpeter swans and a couple by themselves and a crazy one flying all around honking endlessly never figured out what was wrong but something had it worked up. Bugs not to bad mostly due to a high wind, wondering how the bugs will be in the next two days with less wind forcasted. At the end of my hike when I went back to the original trailhead was lucky to meet Jessica Brewington and Amanda Dodd of Warrior Expeditions. Warrior Expeditions provides veterans with everything they need to complete a long distance outdoor expedition at no cost to the veteran.

Jessica Brewington and Amanda Dodd of Warrior Expeditions

Day 2   6/4/2018

Sunny skies and warm weather on the 11.2 mile Tuscobia Segment which is on the Tuscobia State Trail a 74-mile abandoned railroad grade. Overall not the most exciting but relativity easy walking bugs were tolerable as long as you stayed moving. This IAT segment runs from just east of HWY 53 to Birchwood passing through the town of Brill.

Brill, WI

Passed Many farms saw lots of deer and a few cranes and some buffalo grazing at a farm and also this bridge over the swollen Brill river.

Birchwood Parking Area

Day 3   6/5/2018

Day 3

Beautiful morning for the 5.4-mile bear lake segment and a 5.7 mile connecting route through the town of Haugen. The bear lake segment was very nice with the first part through thick forest with lots of ferns and thick vegetation (and thick mosquitos) transitioning into a more open landscape passing through the L. E. Phillips Scout Reservation a 1400 acre Scout Camp.

L. E. Phillips Scout Reservation

L. E. Phillips Scout Reservation Bunkhouse

This lead to a nice road section passing by the Bear Lake Sedge Meadow leading into the town of Haugen then to the Wild Rivers Trail taking me to the trailhead. Hoping to head back up in a few weeks.

That’s all for now Andy

4 Days and 40 Miles in Northern Wisconsin

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39.6 Miles hiked in 4 Days

Day 1   5/14/2018

Map of Day 1 12.3 mile hike here
Map of Day 2 10.1 mile hike here
Map of Day 3 11.3 mile hike here
Map of Day 4 5.1 mile hike here

Hello everyone

This was my first IAT “real” hiking of the year. Have been trying to do the road sections over the winter.

I left on Sunday afternoon and got to Interstate State park around 6:00 PM enough time to get my tent set up and settled for four nights of camping.

My first day of hiking was uneventful but overall very nice, picking up where I left off in the spring, with great weather for hiking, it rained after my hike through the evening the only rain over four days so I can’t complain. Went 12.3 miles on the first day and felt pretty good overall. One thing of note at the end of my hike at the trailhead there was a backpacker taking a siesta. I was afraid I might wake him when I started my truck to leave but he woke before I was ready to go and we started a conversation.

Bill Spence at the Northern McKenzie Creek Segment Trailhead.

His name is Bill Spence and he is a heart transplant recipient trying to hike the IAT to raise awareness for organ donation. Link to his website here. And a newspaper article here. He was waiting for his Daughter to come get him and I offered him a ride and took him to Cumberland to meet his daughter. That gave him time to tell me his story and sign me up to be a organ donor (already should have been) so good luck to bill on his hike.

Day two was probably the best day great weather and saw several pairs of Trumpeter swans on lakes that are only accessible to foot travel. I also saw the largest by far, Porcupine I have ever seen, Great Great grandpa. I crested a very steep hill on a old logging road to see a pair of sandhill cranes with two chicks (that I could see) I was probably 15 feet from them and they didn’t see me…..at first. after a minute or two one of them spotted my and made the familiar sandhill loud, rattling bugle call then nothing for five or ten seconds then all hell broke loose both making quite a racket trying to shoo the chicks away there must have been more chicks that I couldn’t see because they were shooing into the woods where I could see none. One tried to fly away with no luck due to the tree canopy and the other still trying to move the chicks away. The calls continued for at least ten minutes as I made my way from the area.

Day Three started pretty well and ended with me being pretty tired after 3 days and 35 miles after a winter of little off-road hiking weather was nice and so was the scenery just real tired towards the end of the day.

Resting my tired feet

Day four was planned short day 5 of miles, as I started I felt great and thought I might add 5 miles or so to the day but about the third mile started to get tired again and the four days were starting to take their toll. So I called it quits after 5 miles which gave me time to check out some campgrounds for my next trip up north in two weeks.

Overall a very nice four days 40 miles and probably 95% in the forest. I probably passed at least 15 lakes that are only accessible by foot, not bad. Planning on another multi-day trip in a few weeks.

Thats all for now. Andy

3 Days of Hiking Starting at the Western Terminus in Interstate State Park

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36.9 Miles hiked in 3 Days

Day 1   10/16/2017

Map of today’s 14.7 mile hike here.

Got up early today 3:30 A I had a four hour drive ahead of me planning on a 15 mile hike and get camp setup before dark. I better get moving. Drove to Interstate Park where I would be camping for two nights and more importantly where the western terminus of the ice age trail starts.

Western Terminus St Croix River

Left home at 4:45 Am and got to the park at about 9:15 got a campsite #27 and being that my campsite was ¼ mile from the western terminus it made things easy for my first day logistics. So time to ride the motorcycle to The Trail head in Centuria, WI. And start hiking.

I started the hike on a rail trail for about ½ mile then a road section for about 4 miles before heading into the woods and heading down river (south) paralleling the St Croix River a beautiful section along the river with the fall colors past peak but plenty of leaves left on the trees. The St Croix River is a 169 mile long river whose lower 125 miles form the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. This lead into the Wert Family Nature Preserve away and 400 feet above the river.

Fred Zillmer Park
Wert Family Nature Preserve

This lead to Zillmer Park (founder of the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation, Inc. and originator of the Ice Age Trail) and then finishing at he Western Terminus in Interstate State Park.

I made it back to the campsite around 5 with enough daylight to setup camp. Set the tent up check out the video.

Interstate State Park “Camp 27”

Made something to eat cleaned up and slept pretty good except for the car alarm that went off at least half a dozen times throughout the night sounded like it was coming from the other side of the campground. Thankfully they left and the next night was alarm free.

Day 2    10/17/2017

Map of today’s 14.5 Mile hike here.

Another 15 mile day and ready to get started. It was a little chilly at sunrise about 38 degrees but a great forecast of 70 and sunny. Got to the same trail head in Centuria this time heading northeast to the trail head in Fredrick. Almost the entire 15 miles was on the Gandy Dancer State Trail a former rail line converted to a recreational trail.

Gandy Dancer State Trail
Gandy Dancer State Trail

Rail trail are not my favorite but with perfect fall weather and changing leaves it should be a good day. I left Centuria heading northwest passing through the towns of Milltown and Luck ending up at the trailhead (I will begin here tomorrow) on the south side of Fredrick.

Milltown and Luck Water Towers

Some of the good and bad things about Rail Trails. The bad usually boring but not today, perfect fall weather and colorful leaves made it a great walk also on the bad side it can be hard on my feet due to the same steps taken with little variation as opposed to a varying trail which varies your steps. On the good side easy walking and you can spend more time looking around and less time watching where you are going.

Day3   10/18/2017

Map of todays 7.9 mile hike here.

I saved the best for last. Up at sunrise to tear camp down and head out.

Today’s plan Trade River Segment and Straight Lake Segment. Perfect weather again was down to a t-shirt and shorts at 11 in the morning not bad for October 18. Started the hike through the Trade River Ski Area being followed by a large dog who really liked barking at me. The hike then went through the beautiful Straight Lake State Park highlighted by Oak Forests raining leaves.

Also saw some Beaver Activity

The untouched and undeveloped Straight Lake and the Straight River Tunnel Channel. The finest example of a Tunnel Channel in the Midwest.

I wish I had brought my good camera for this one. I highly recommend this hike preferably in the fall when some of the leaves are down so as to be able to see straight Lake and the Tunnel Channel. It may be wet in some areas during spring or high rain times.

That’s all for now Andy